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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Driver in fatal crash avoids jail

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Courtney Enriques confronts defendant Billy J. Lamug, left, with photos of her injuries. Enriques has been through 10 operations to repair her mangled feet.

BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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In a courtroom crowded with his victims' relatives and friends, Billy J. Lamug was sentenced yesterday to five years of probation for a May 2006 car crash that killed two Wai- alua High School classmates and maimed a third.

One surviving victim of the high speed crash said that Lamug's apology for the accident, delivered in court, came too late and his sentence was too light.

Lamug, now 21, earlier pleaded no contest to two felony counts of second-degree negligent homicide for the deaths of Shane Bachiller, 18, and Lanakila Vierra, 17, and one felony count of negligently causing injury to Courtney Enriques, now 20, who was a passenger in the car.

Enriques, who has endured 10 surgeries to repair her mangled feet injured in the wreck, said Lamug's courtroom apology came too late and his sentence was too light.

"It's been way too long," she said outside court. "We wanted a better justice. It would have meant so much if he could have served some time in jail."

Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Ta-shima asked Circuit Judge Michael Town to sentence Lamug to up to five years in prison.

"There needs to be punishment, stiff punishment, especially for a case like this. The emotion he's showed, maybe a teardrop here and there, doesn't cut it," Tashima said.

"He still doesn't get it."

Lamug's vehicle was traveling 60 mph on a dangerous stretch of Kaukonahua Road between Wahiawa and Waialua where the speed limit is 35 mph, Tashima said.

Town noted there have been a number of fatal accidents on the road, which is dotted with makeshift memorials for crash victims.

Defense attorney Dean Hoe reminded the judge that neither drugs nor alcohol were involved in the 2006 crash, and that Lamug, who lives in Arizona and graduated from college with a 3.8 grade-point average, has no previous or subsequent criminal record.

In addition to probation, Town sentenced Lamug to a suspended one-year jail term, 400 hours of community service and $3,700 in restitution.

The judge also recommended that Lamug and the families of his victims meet in a mediation session to talk about the tragedy.

A civil suit filed against him by the victims' families was settled out of court for undisclosed terms.

During the hearing, Enriques told Lamug that she had to learn to walk all over again after the crash, which left her permanently disfigured. She said she is left with pain and embarrassment because of the crippling injuries to her feet.

"I can't even wear sandals anymore. I can't wear slippers," she said.

Another passenger in the car, Derrick Nacario, shook hands with Lamug and then had trouble putting his emotions into words.

"You gotta man up, cuz. Take responsibility," Naca-rio said.

Others who directly addressed Lamug were Kalai Vierra, sister of Bachiller; Patricia and Julie Pedro, the mother and grandmother of Bachiller; and Dayna Enriques, mother of Courtney Enriques.

Kalai Vierra said her brother "loved his family. He did everything to help others" and became an organ donor.

Dayna Enriques asked Lamug, "You're either guilty or you're not. So what is it?"

When Lamug said he was guilty, Enriques responded, "It took you almost four years to say that."

Looking straight at La-mug, she said, "I'm asking the judge to give you at least a year in jail."

Patricia Pedro, Bachiller's mother, told Lamug, "This was no accident." She said he "chose not to listen to Lanakila, telling him to slow down."

"He continued to speed and lost control, causing the car to flip over several times," Pedro said.